Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma announces casting and production teams for its annual summer shows, featuring new and returning national talent, including Mateja Govich, Christopher Rice, Kirsten Scott, Lindsie VanWinkle, Jeremy Benton, David Elder, Emily Skinner, Eleasha Gamble, Dan Sharkey, Lyn Cramer and more. All four productions — OKLAHOMA!, MARY POPPINS, BIG FISH, and BILLY ELLIOT — will perform at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City.
“The casts and creative teams we have pieced together from national and local talent are exemplary this year,” said Michael Baron, Lyric’s producing artistic director. “I’m particularly looking forward to directing the official state production of OKLAHOMA!, and a new production of the musical BIG FISH, which I fell in love with during its pre-Broadway run.”
OKLAHOMA!, a classic that redefined musical theatre, will run June 23 through 27 at the Civic Center Music Hall. This production stars Oklahoma natives Mateja Govich and Christopher Rice as Curly and Will Parker, respectively, and Broadway’s own Kirsten Scott as the winsome Laurey. Govich has been seen on Lyric’s stage in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Count Carl-Magnus Malcom), RAGTIME (Tateh), and LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and performed on Broadway in Roundabout Theatre Company’s CABARET. Rice, a graduate of Lyric’s Thelma Gaylord Academy and the University of Oklahoma, has been a swing for THE BOOK OF MORMON on Broadway for the past year. Rice’s Lyric credits include THE PRODUCERS and A CHORUS LINE (Mike). Scott has been seen on Broadway in BIG FISH (Jenny Hill) and FOLLIES (Young Phyllis). Brian J Marcum will choreograph the production; Jo Rowan, the dance chairman of the Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management at Oklahoma City University, will choreograph the dream ballet. Michael Baron directs.
Everyone’s favorite nanny, MARY POPPINS, flies into the Civic Center July 7 through 11. The cast of this classic tale, based upon the Disney movie of the same name, will be led by Lindsie VanWinkle as the “practically perfect” nanny, and Jeremy Benton as London’s jolliest chimney sweep, Bert. VanWinkle has been seen in the off-Broadway productions of NEVERMORE, MARY MAGDALENE, and FLIPSIDE: THE PATTI PAGE STORY, and is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma. Benton was last on Lyric’s stage in CALL ME MADAM. Other credits include the Broadway run of 42ND STREET and the national tours of ANYTHING GOES and 42ND STREET. Joe Deer directs, and Matthew Sipress choreographs.
BIG FISH tells a tale of reconciliation through the stories told by father to son. Running July 21 through 25, the cast features David Elder as the father, Edward Bloom. Elder, who performed in Lyric’s 2012 production of BYE BYE BIRDIE as Albert Peterson, has been seen on Broadway in CURTAINS (Bobby Pepper), 42ND STREET (Billy Lawlor), and KISS ME, KATE (Bill Calhoun). Emily Skinner, seen in Lyric’s 2014 productions of DISNEY’S THE LITTLE MERMAID (Ursula) and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (Charlotte Malcolm), will play Edward’s wife, Sandra Bloom. Eleasha Gamble, most recently seen on the national tour of THE LION KING and Lyric’s production of OLIVER! (Nancy), will play the Witch. Michael Baron helms the production, with fresh new scenic and costume design and by Lyric favorites Adam Koch and Jeffrey Meek.
BILLY ELLIOT, the boy whose talent and drive inspires his entire community, will dance on the Civic Center stage August 4 through 8. The musical tells the story of Billy’s struggle against the odds to make his dreams come true, and will be directed by Lyric’s associate artistic director, Ashley Wells. Christopher Bloch, who performed with Lyric in the 2013 and 2014 productions of LYRIC’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL as Scrooge, will play Billy’s father. Bloch’s credits include the national tour of BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY and Ford’s Theatre production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Cratchit/Marley). Also included in the cast is Lyn Cramer, a Weitzenhoffer Endowed Professor at the University of Oklahoma and a Lyric favorite, as Billy’s dance teacher Ms. Wilkinson. Amy Reynolds-Reed will choreograph.
Lyric has assembled a stellar production team for these four productions. David Andrews Rogers, who has worked with Lyric for over the past 20 years, will music direct these four shows. Other production team members include lighting design by Helena Kuukka, costume design by Jeffrey Meek, properties design by Courtney Strong, hair design by Jenny Valentine Sawyer of Elsen Associates, and scenic design by Kimberly Powers for BILLY ELLIOT.
Single tickets are on sale now, and start at $25. Purchase tickets by visiting Lyric’s box office at 1727 NW 16th Street, calling (405) 524-9312 or visiting LyricTheatreOKC.com.
Photo: Mellisa Griffith, Campbell Walker Fields, Terry Runnels, Brenda Williams, Mateja Govich, Michael James, Greg White, Marilyn Govich, Jesamine Katzman, Andi Dema, Jennifer Teel, Chad Anderson, Matthew Sipress, Lexi Windsor, and Kasey Yeargain will all be featured in Lyric’s 2015 productions at the Civic Center Music Hall. Photo by KO Rinearson.